Jerry John Rawlings, a former Ghanaian president on Thursday died of suspected COVID-19 complications at 73. Ghanaians and African leaders immediately started paying tribute to the Flight Lieutenant, remembering him for Bond as well as his great leadership skills.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, in his condolence message to the government and people of Ghana, said the entire African continent “will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader.”
According to him, the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years will continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond.
The President noted the unique role the former President played in strengthening political institutions in his country and Africa, stimulating the economy for sustainable growth and championing the African cause by urging many leaders to work towards interdependency on the global stage, especially in areas of competitive advantage.
Buhari said the ideas Rawlings postulated, particularly for development in Africa, and his sacrifices in working in various countries as an envoy for peace and democracy would always be remembered.
Also, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, condoled with the people of Ghana. Obasanjo , in a letter to President Nana Akufo-Ado, a copy of which was made available to journalists through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta, he eulogised the late leader.
He said Rawlings “was passionate about peace, security and leadership issues in Africa.” According to Obasanjo, Rawlings will be missed for his exemplary leadership across Africa but particularly for his contribution to nation-building in Ghana where he served, first as the military Head of State of the country from 1981 to 1992 and later as a democratically-elected President from 1992-2001.
“Like many of his contemporaries too, former President Rawlings provided the much-needed leadership and direction which impacted positively on the social stability and democratic progress recorded thus far in Ghana. A quintessential patriot and courageous leader, he will be remembered for his critical role in the evolvement of modern democratic Ghana,” Obasanjo stated.
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, described Rawlings as an African giant. “His tenure as leader of Ghana remains emblematic with the restoration of that country. Even after office, he stood tall for African unity and renaissance,” he tweeted.
Former Nigerian Senate president, Bukola Saraki, also conveyed his condolences. He tweeted that he had extended his condolences to the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Rawlings’ legacy is controversial and he divided opinion domestically and in the wider world. His detractors accused him of torture and corruption; but to his supporters, he brought order, security and prosperity to Ghana.
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